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Christ in disguise

Opinion

Train loads of events fill our daily lives. If we don’t reflect on our experiences, we will never pick out what our experience of the major events is telling us, how the finger of God is tracing its patterns through our lives. So what has our experience of the major Seasons of Lent and Easter taught us?

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There were significant Gospel stories given to us through Lent – the barren fig tree, the prodigal son and his elder brother, the woman taken in adultery. Did we learn their lessons? The fig tree was barren, but was spared, but had to be dug around and fertilised. What have we allowed to revitalise the fig tree of our lives? What of the selfishness of the prodigal son and the mean-heartedness of the elder brother? What of the woman whom Jesus refused to condone or condemn, but whom He pointed in a new direction? Have we been open to the graciousness of God transforming us?

In celebrating Easter we are not commemorating an anniversary, something that happened two thousand years ago. The question is not, what happened to Jesus two thousand years ago, but rather, where is what happened two thousand years ago to Jesus happening now, again for us. In other words, what are the signs of the resurrection in our lives? They are there, in the hope and love and kindness and goodness that surrounds us, but we must look. That means we must reflect, haul off and take time to ponder.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta told her Sisters they must look for Jesus in disguise among the poor. In the Gospel accounts, often the disciples did not recognise the Risen Christ at first. Mary Magdala thought He was the gardener. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognise Him until the breaking of the bread. The disciples who went fishing did not recognise Jesus on the shore, until Peter said, “It is the Lord”. So we must look carefully and be prepared to have minds and hearts open to seeing Him in those around us, even the quite unlikely.

There is so much for our spiritual lives that we could gain by looking back on our experience of Lent and Easter this year. “I stand at the door and knock,” says Jesus in the Book of Revelations. Let us listen to His invitation to allow Him in by taking within us the meaning He has shown us through this Lent and Easter. And finally, the wounds of Jesus were still there with Him in His Risen Body. Earthly wounds that were transformed. So may the wounds in the Church be similarly transformed.

Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ
Apostolic Administrator
Archdiocese of Adelaide
Bishop of Port Pirie Diocese

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